Tuesday, March 3, 2009
(Jaced.com Lateral Action blog)
Do you have a muse? Where does creativity come from? Does it "come" from somewhere outside yourself? Have you ever "created" something that seems to move your mind, your hand, your eye that when you are done you wonder where did that come from? I am not an artist. Pencil to paper to draw something has always seemed like magic. My ex-sister-in-law is an artist. She worked in animation at Disney and Don Bluth for years. My reaction to watching her work almost seems primitive. Where does that gift come from? Is there a "genius" inspiring her, taking her over, something you can call upon to help you? Can creativity come from hard work, from practicing some particular craft? Will a "genius" come along when you slog along perfecting a craft.
I remember one day, still living at home with my family, and I was in college. I was playing with water colors that I had purchased for a calligraphy class. (I had to do take something for my fine art requirement.) The professor had asked us to create a poster and "create" a new font. I had seen a beautiful picture of a flower, a large flower overflowing with petals. Because I cannot draw, I did the grid thing. You know, draw a grid over the picture and then copy each little grid to your paper. I remember the feeling of being totally absorbed watching this picture appear on the page. I took out my water colors, sprawled on the floor, and started to "color." Mixing colors, shading, washes. Hours passed and when I was done it was shocking. There was a beautiful flower. Where did it come from? I absolutely loved that feeling of being taken over.
Writers must have a special breed of muse, of creative genius. That magical ability to tell a story, persuade with an essay, create an epic tale. When a writer writes a story that spans many books does the end of the story inspire the beginning? Or is it like a journey to the writer, too? Does the writer start writing and wonder where is this taking me? The Harry Potter stories, Diana Gabaldon "Outlander" series, the Twilight books. When you finish the last book and then go back to re-read them (or am I the only one who has to do that?) and see all the clues and bits that go with the end, it is so much fun to realize what you may have missed the first time round, but does the author create the whole landscape of the book first so that they can plant these clues?
Musicians, composers, singers. Music is a mystery. I can change my mood by the music I listen to. It can bring back memories long buried. It's like music has a special key to the mind, a special way to open you up. If I am madder than hell, I play some loud, very LOUD, thumping music and eventually I calm down and my music choices change, too. (One reason to allow those teenagers of ours to play "their" music loud once in a while.)
Here's to hoping your muse inspires you today.